NPR/Marist National Poll: Economy & Biden Approval, November 2021

Inflation is Americans’ Biggest Economic Worry and it’s Impacting Biden’s Approval

Despite rapid job growth and decreasing unemployment – but as inflation flares – the economy continues to drive Americans’ perception of Joe Biden’s performance in office. In the latest NPR/Marist Poll, 39% name inflation as the most important economic concern, far outpacing other worries such as wages (17%), labor shortages (11%), and unemployment (10%). Biden’s overall approval rating has slipped to 42% which matches the approval he receives for his handling of the economy (42%).

Top Four Economic Concerns
What do you consider to be the most important concern for the United States' economy:
Source: NPR/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted November 16-19, 2021, n=1,048 MOE +/- 4.2 percentage points.
  • There is a distinct partisan split on the question of the most important concern for the U.S. economy with 58% of Republicans and 42% of independents naming inflation as the number one worry. Wages is the top concern among Democrats at 31%.

  • Americans divide over who would do a better job handling the economy, the Republicans in Congress (43%) or the Democrats in Congress (41%).

  • Although a considerable amount of attention has been paid to the legislative debate among Democrats on the president’s initiatives, about two-thirds of Americans (66%), including a majority of Republicans (57%), blame the gridlock in Washington on the inability of the Democrats and Republicans to agree with each other.

  • Democrats maintain a narrow lead in the “generic ballot” – 46% of Americans say they’d vote for the Democrat in their district if the 2022 Congressional elections were held today, and 41% would choose a Republican. In our poll from earlier this month, Democrats held a three-point edge (44%-41%).

  • When asked about their personal spending and/or investment plans for the next year, 58% say they’ll stay “about the same,” 22% plan on an increase, and 18% plan to decrease it.

Biden’s approval rating among all Americans (42%) is the lowest to date in our polling and has dipped down two points from earlier this month (44%). The proportion of residents who strongly disapprove of the job Biden is doing (37%) outpaces those who strongly approve of his performance (13%) by nearly three to one. When comparing Biden to his predecessor, the latest number is just below the highest approval rating (44%) Donald Trump received in our polls during his four years in office.

As to whether Americans believe Biden is fulfilling his campaign promises after 10 months in office, 43% agree and 51% disagree. There is a strong partisan divide (79% of Democrats agree and 83% of Republicans disagree) with independents tipping the balance (43% agree, 52% disagree).

"Regardless of strong job numbers or the soaring stock market, Americans are worried about the economy and the reason is inflation," says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "Democrats are hoping for a Biden reset in 2022, and Republicans are banking on the mid-terms following historical precedent."